I did a post last month on her gorgeous photography. What some of you may not know is that the lovely Miss Aimee of Mostly Mod has celiac disease. After I read about her recent trip to Marfa I was thinking: How does she maintain a gluten free diet while traveling? So I was thrilled when Miss Aimee agreed to answer a few questions about her personal experience with celiac.
When were you diagnosed with celiac disease?
About 4-5 years ago, although I will say it took me about a year to come to reality with the severity of it. I was in denial for a year thinking I could cheat the diet. I was scared that it would simply be unmanageable to continue on being "the foodie" I am in a celiac world.
What was one of the first things you ate after learning you couldn't eat gluten? Are there any foods you miss?
Well, naturally I think my body naturally disliked the foods I couldn't eat. I never liked pizza or pasta or bread. In fact, I can remember as a child always eating the inside of my sandwiches and the hamburger meat out of buns. I loved grits growing up and all corn-based products. So it wasn't a huge change for me. But I will say after knowing you cannot have something there is a funny thing that happens...you just want one more bite. I miss birthday cake from really great bakeries. I miss scones. I miss a good few bites of homemade macaroni and cheese or a good beer on a hot summer day. Although I have conveniently become a wino because of the lack of beer in the fridge.
Are there other members in your family with a gluten intolerance?
Yes, my Dad. He found out 5 years ago and that was why my sister and I both got tested. Of course my sister was fine, and I had celiac. Both my parents were not at all surprised as my Mom will tell the story over and over about the time I broke out in hives from eating too many stone wheat crackers one day. I loved those crackers! What a shame. The doctor (in the 70s) took me off wheat for about a year. Nobody knew what celiac was then!
What is meal prep like--do you cook one gluten free meal that all can share vs. separate ones?
I DO NOT make separate meals. We eat only gluten free foods in my house except for the basic bin of saltine crackers on the counter for my husband and the kids, and I always make sandwiches for the kids' lunch boxes on whole wheat bread. Although I will say my kids love toasted gluten free bread from Whole Foods. Whole Foods brand makes the BEST Prairie Bread ever! It must be toasted though. I eat it all the time.
Is there a favorite gluten free recipe you'd like to share?
Wow. So many. See my blog Mostly Mod for favorites as I post them every Tuesday! I only post recipes that are loved by the entire family. I have a fantastic Mexican cornbread recipe and we eat Pamela's brand pancake mix every Saturday for breakfast. I recently brought it on my Marfa trip and made pancakes for two families. Nobody knew they were gluten free and everyone loved them! In fact my friend Joslyn told me she thought they were better than regular pancakes! She swears she will buy them now. How great is that!
How often do you travel?
All the time. We are huge get-up-and-go-on-an-adventure kind of family. So I never know where we will eat but I can always find something!
Are there particular places you favor going where a gluten free diet can be easily accommodated?
No, I am a go-with-the-flow kind of girl. So, I am pretty easy.
Is there anywhere you would NOT recommend to a person who has dietary restrictions?
Well, I will say I am NOT a fast food kind of person and never have been. It is greasy and makes you feel so bad after eating it. I try not to ever feed it to my kids but sometimes they just want it (so you got to give in).
Basically, what's your method/best advice for handling the whole gluten issue when traveling?
Pack a small cooler bag full of fresh fruits and veggies, pack a few of your favorite boxes of gluten free crackers and a jar of peanut butter....and you won't starve no matter what. Be open-minded....chefs are pretty on the GF diet now. I find that when I go to any place to eat they pretty much all accommodate me well. You can always order a grilled chicken nothing on it and a side of rice or potato right?!
Is there anything else you'd like to add about dining out in general? (e.g., restaurants, friends' homes, etc.)
I will say my friends are intimidated at first to have us over for dinner because of my gluten free diet and then they realize it is pretty easy. I always send them to a few great gluten free recipe links on my blog sidebar that I frequent and they are all great recipes my husband and friends absolutely love! I always tell people you can't really go wrong with Mexican food either. The truth is gluten isn't good for anyone, celiac or not...so if you don't HAVE to go there why go there...right? I feel great. I have tons of energy, I am feeding my body the way I should...so yeah for celiac. I love cooking, I love eating...so it's all good over here.
Thank you for sharing, Miss Aimee!
Please feel free to email me (jackie at VanillaSpoons dot com) if you'd like to be featured in a celiac spotlight.
Related posts about dining out can be found here and here.